You have probably heard that you should review your estate plan every couple
of years, or once you have a child or grandchild, or once you get married,
or if you get divorced. So when is the right time? Is it any time something
major happens in your life, or should you just be safe and review it every
couple of years?
First, let me say that marriages, divorces, adoptions and child birth can
have a profound effect on your will. The occurrence of these events can
cause entire portions of your existing will to be effectively ignored.
Or worse yet, one of these events could result in the entire will being
revoked depending on when the will was executed. Of course this doesn't
even begin to consider the actual effect these events can have on your
estate planning objectives. The bottom line here is that whenever one
of these things happens in your life, you should take the time to ensure
that your estate planning documents will still do for you and your loved
ones what you want them to do.
Something else you need to watch out for are changes in the law governing
estate planning documents in general. You most likely have heard the headlines
when there is a major change to Federal estate taxes, and you may even
be following the State budget proposals and legislative actions well enough
to know what changes might occur that could affect your estate plan. What
you are probably not following are the court cases that affect the interpretation
of estate planning documents in your particular jurisdiction or at the
Federal level. All of these types of changes can have a major impact on
your plans, and should be taken into account when determining what the
appropriate time is to review and update your documents.
Finally, let me just point out that even if there are no changes in the
laws or major life changing events such as those indicated above, you
may still want to take the time to review your documents. Why? Well, the
short answer is that
you should take the time to update your documents if by doing so you will
be creating value for yourself. Any time something happens in your life or in the life of a loved one that
affects your estate planning objectives or that you want to ensure is
accounted for in your existing estate plan, it is time to review your
documents and update as necessary. This way, you always have piece-of-mind.
If you want to learn more about wills or estate planning documents in
general, feel free to browse our website.